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Warren Buffett Donates $37 Billion To The Gates Foundation

The Intelligent Investor seems to also have a heart of gold. Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is pledging most of his $44 billion personal fortune to the Gates Foundation. This is the single-largest philanthropic donation by an individual ever. The Oracle of Omaha is Mr. Gates’ bridge partner, and compared giving the money to asking Tiger Woods to take one’s place in a high-stakes game of golf.

He will gradually give over 85% of his wealth to five foundations – the Gates Foundation, three foundations headed by his children, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after his late wife. He reached the decision, in part due to the demise of his wife in 2004. Intimations of mortality oft enough have ways of reminding one that we cannot even carry tea for the tillerman, and a life well-lived is its own reward.

Mr. Buffett will also be joining Bill and Melinda Gates as trustees of the Foundation, and stipulating in his revised will that one or both of them must remain associated with the Foundation. The mechanism of the donation is through a regular grant of Berkshire Hathaway shares, which could, as he believes, generally rise in value.

To put the gift in perspective, the Gates Foundation is currently worth approximately $30 bln, already the largest foundation in the world, and has given $10 billion in grants since its inception in 1994, with 70% of the aid spent outside the United States. The annual budget of the United Nations in comparison, is $12 billion, and the Ford Foundation, founded in 1936, is worth about $11.5 billion.

The Gates’, speaking in response to Mr. Buffett’s decision, said, “The impact of Warren’s generosity will not be fully understood for decades. As we move forward with the work, we do so with a profound sense of responsibility. Working with Warren and with our partners around the world, we have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Speaking in a conversation with FORTUNE Magazine, Mr Buffett explained his preference for the Gates’, saying, “If you think about it – if your goal is to return the money to society by attacking truly major problems that don’t have a commensurate funding base – what could you find that’s better than turning to a couple of people who are young, who are ungodly bright, whose ideas have been proven, who already have shown an ability to scale it up and do it right?

You don’t get an opportunity like that ordinarily. I’m getting two people enormously successful at something, where I’ve had a chance to see what they’ve done, where I know they will keep doing it – where they’ve done it with their own money, so they’re not living in some fantasy world – and where in general I agree with their reasoning. If I’ve found the right vehicle for my goal, there’s no reason to wait.”

He stressed the recent decision by Bill Gates to step away from operational responsibilities at Microsoft was “just happenstance”.

The irony of the second-richest man giving money to the richest man in the world was not lost on him, and doubtless, not on the world. It will however, be money well-spent, and if it brings the world closer to controlling the ‘Big Three’ – malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS – good show!

About aacool

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    thanks for bringing this Story to our Attention, Aaman…

    it’s great Achievements like this that help restore Faith in those at the top of the corporate world

    now, of only more would follow this stellar Example

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    You want more people to give $30 billion? Tsk tsk. Such high standards.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    heh..nah Suss…just tha more woudl do what they can when their assets go far beyond anything even a wealthy individual coudl conceive of as “needed”

    both of these people know they have more than some countries…and have decided touse it for the betterment of People

    and i applaud them for that

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.codexalimentarious.com/ Richard Brodie

    In the long run they are harming humanity. By putting the emphasis on disease elimination rather than on limiting population growth, they are merely adding fuel to the worldwide population explosion, setting mankind up for an even bigger and more cataclysmic disaster when nature finally asserts itself to bring population levels back down from completely unsustainable heights with its own age old cures of plague and war.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Richard, spoken like a person who has always had clean running water and 3 square meals a day…

    so much for compassion…

    but i’m certain Camus and Lamarck enjoy you as their disciple

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I think some people in Sudan already have the overpopulation crisis taken care of.

    First you get malaria vaccinations. Then you worry about abortion.

    No, troll didn’t usurp my good name. Just feeling a little jaunty today.

  • RedTard

    I think these two wealthy families are setting great examples. I do wish the foundations would earmark more money to help poor Americans rather than sending the bulk overseas, but then it IS their money to do with as they please.

  • http://bryanmckay.com/blog Bryan McKay

    but i’m certain Camus and Lamarck enjoy you as their disciple

    Actually, Camus was a pretty decent, humanitarian guy, despite what reading The Stranger might lead one to believe. He was a committed activist for human rights and was a rather devoted socialist for much of his life.

  • SonnyD

    I believe some of the charity work Warren Buffett has already been doing has included funding for birth control.

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    Re: Comment #4 – Population and demographic studies demonstrate that with improvements in life expectancy, quality of life rises, and with the reduction of infant/child deaths, families tend to have fewer children.

    In many developing nations having lots of children is, for lack of a better description, a retirement strategy – have 10 kids and 3 or 4 might survive to look after you in your old age. As incomes and quality of life increases (basic health care being an essential piece of that), birth rates decline.

    If you throw in social and birth control programs into the mix (an essential part of basic health care, particularly in AIDS-stricken Africa), your fears of a worldwide Malthusian nightmare and having to eat Solyent Green are probably overstated.

    Mmmmmmmm….Soyent Green…..mmmmmmmm.

  • margaret opine

    THANK YOU SUPRA-WEALTHY AMERICANS FOR RECYCLING OUR AMERICAN DOLLARS AS HUMANITARIANS. APPARENTLY, IT IS EASY TO MAKE MONEY WHEN YOU KNOW HOW . . .WHEN YOU KNOW HOW TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO COME INTO YOUR SHOP (BUSINESS) AND BUY AND THEN WORK YEARS TO PAY FOR IT. WE CALL THAT AN ‘ECONOMY’ BUT WHEN ONE PERSON HAS BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS . . . WELL, THEY DO KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE GAME WELL. VERY WELL. AND THEN, TO TAKE THAT BILLION OUT OF OUR COUNTRY . . .WHILE WE NEED IT, WELL, WE NEED TO CHANGE THE GAME A BIT. BUT SURELY AS THE POPULATION GROWS THE WORLD’S WEALTHY PEOPLE WILL GROW IN NUMBERS AND IN WEALTH TOO. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE. THEY WILL TAKE FROM THOSE OF US WHO WILL BUY AND PAY THEM TO BE RICH AND THEN GIVE IT TO THOSE WHO THEY THINK NEED IT MORE THAN WE DO. (MAYBE THEY DO; MAYBE THEY DONT’ KNOW HOW TO MAKE MONEY OR BUY SOMETHING SO THE RICH WILL HAVE SOMETHING TO MAKE THEM WEALTHY.

    THAT’S NOT LIVING WELL, THAT’S PLAYING A GAME WELL. WE NEED TO TAKE A VERY LONG LOOK AT OUR GAME OF MONEY.

    WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE CONTRIBUTE TO OUR WEALTHIESTS’ COLLECTION PLATES IN SUCH LARGE SUMS FOR THE BANGLES AND BEADS THEY GIVE US AS A PRIZE. WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE WE SENDING TO THE WARREN’S AND BILL’S OF THIS OUR HUMAN WORLD?

    STILL, THANKS FELLOWS. I APPRECIATE THE HAND-OUT.
    Margaret Opine
    P.S. I LOVE CAPITALISM BUT I WNAT MORE OF THE ORDINARY PEOPLE TO LEARN BETTER HOW TO PLAY THE GAME BETTER. SHARE THE WEALTH, STRETCH IT OUT.

  • Charles Chen

    hi

  • P Nelson

    You think this is about disease control? This IS ABOUT POPULATOIN CONTROL. Both Gates and Buffet have stated that the population should be under 1 billion, and now you see both of them splurging money on all these programs that focus on family planning and health care..

    total bullshit.